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Full text of "A history of Persia"

PERSIA BEFORE THE REVOLUTION   489
appeared in the public audience, attended by the ministers
and great officers of state. At this function, termed
Diwan-i-dm, or " General Court," all business for which
publicity was desirable was transacted ; rewards or punish-
ments were ordered, and the monarch expressed his views
on any subject on which he considered a public utterance
to be politic. At noon the monarch retired to his anderun.
In the afternoon the procedure was much the same, except
that the lev£e was less of a public function than in the
morning, this fact being recognized in its tide of Diwan-
i-Khas, or "Special Court." The monarch who carried
out his duties in the manner described was in constant
touch with his subjects, large numbers of whom were
permitted to approach him ; and this accessibility must
certainly be set to the credit of the system. Against it
was the fact that the Shah had very little time for attending
to important state affairs, being frequently occupied in
hearing the most trivial cases at the " Courts." There
was also the time wasted by ^ministers, who were kept in
attendance for many hours daily, whereas they should
have been working at their offices.
The Grand Pizier.—The position of the Grand Vizier
has always been of very great importance. Usually,
though not invariably, he controlled all the departments
of the government. He enjoyed the dose confidence of
his master and directed the entire policy of the State. As
may be supposed, he was the object of countless intrigues,
and the Shah's dissatisfaction meant his fall. Until quite
recently the fall of a Grand Vizier was speedily followed
by his execution, but now a milder spirit prevails. ^ The
Vizier has as a rule been a man of no family, for it was
deemed impolitic to appoint to this post a prince of the
blood or a great noble.
The Machinery of Government.—The administration of
Persia was conducted on lines similar to those already
described in connexion with the reforms of Darius. The
empire was, and still is, divided into provinces under
Governors-General or Governors appointed by the Crown ;
and these provinces are subdivided into districts and
smaller divisions. The custom was for the provinces to